AFRICA/EGYPT - President al Sisi suggests a ground-breaking legislation to delegalize Islamic divorces "verbally"

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The divorce rate among the Egyptian Islamic population is growing exponentially, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi suggests a ground-breaking legislation to delegalize divorces "verbally" declared by Muslim men to their spouses.
In a televised address during a ceremony marking Police Day, President Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi expressed his concern and proposed his countermeasures to the high rate of divorce. Al Sisi learned from the state Statistics Bureau that about 40 percent of Egypt's 900,000 annual marriages end in divorce after five years.
Al Sisi suggested that the legislation should be adopted so a divorce would be legal only if it is done in the presence of a "maazoun", a cleric authorized by the government to officiate marriage and divorce. In this way – hopes Egyptian President - it would avoid the increasingly common practice of divorce "verbally" with which men often reject their wives by saying a simple verbal formula that breaks the marriage bond, often in the heat of an argument.
The continued practice of "verbal divorce" is actually a prerogative reserved to men. The proposal to limit divorce to the necessary presence of a religious leader aims to give the couple a chance to reconsider, that avoids making definitive the consequences of a decision often taken in the wake of emotional impulses. On this proposal, President al Sisi immediately asked the opinion and possible support of sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyib, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's supreme seat of religious learning in Cairo, who was also present at the ceremony.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, the process for a review of the legislation concerning the personal status of Christians and other religious minorities, which should also regulate the marriage law
continues. In recent weeks the umpteenth proposals of the representatives of each Church had been announced regarding the texts still in the legislative process.
The political debate around a new draft law on the personal status of Christians and other religious minorities has intensified in Egypt since 2014, when the transitional justice ministry also sent a draft of the new law to the leaders of the different Churches and Christian communities rooted in the North African country, with a request to present their comments on the text. The new law will also regulate the marriage law of the members of the Christian community. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 25/01/2017)